Fox News Channel, the All Benghazi Network


WASHINGTON – On Fox News Channel on Thursday, former General Jack Keane refused to play ball with Megyn Kelly, in what has developed on the FNC network as All Benghazi (almost) All The Time. Ms. Kelly’s frustration and disappointment read on the screen. However, Keane is an exception and FNC doesn’t make the mistake of letting knowledgeable people without a political motive on very often as they go non-stop Benghazi in what is clearly a political agenda.

Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey made statements yesterday, with an excerpt of Panetta’s below. It comes as the father of one of the Navy SEAL’s killed decides to speak out and talk with Glenn Beck.

PANETTA: … We — we quickly responded, as General Dempsey said, in terms of deploying forces to the region. We had FAST platoons in the region. We had ships that we had deployed off of Libya. And we were prepared to respond to any contingency and certainly had forces in place to do that.

But — but the basic principle here — basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.

There was another report today by Jennifer Griffin, which comes on the same day FNC announces “Death and Deceit in Benghazi,” a “report” with Bret Baier. The title gives away the agenda.

The biggest issue I have with the reports is that they are given with hindsight clarity not known in the heat of the deadly attack. You can argue that national security pros are supposed to be prepared for heat of the battle decisions. Most times this happens, but on occasion even our best and brightest fall short, whether it’s on the field or in the command centers where the go-ahead is given. It’s the fog of war and what can happen during a surprise assault of an asymmetric attack.

There are questions that need to be answered, with the FNC hysteria not helping this cause anymore than Darrell Issa’s circus did. Security before the Benghazi terrorist attack, which was obviously lacking over the summer, is just one to address. As Keane noted as well, there wasn’t enough security at the consulate, even considering the low profile Ambassador Chris Stevens was asked to keep by our Libyan allies. That Stevens left Tripoli in the first place may have been the trip wire, but diplomats go into the country to engage with the people, so he was doing his job, which is inherently dangerous.

Considering that right wing Republicans don’t respect diplomacy or the brave foreign service soldiers whose job it is, the irony of their concern over the attack has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with those who sacrificed their lives for their country’s mission.

But the squeals and claims that President Obama “lied” and is in the midst of a “cover up” is being concocted out of whole cloth. The newly released emails don’t point to it, the CIA talking points don’t point to it, but you can certainly say there was general confusion after the attack, with new reports revealing the drama.

We should all be willing to look at all the facts now coming out, but we must also understand that we will being seeing it through 20-20 hindsight.

That most networks aren’t covering the issue shouldn’t shock anyone, because our media very rarely ever covers foreign policy.

On the political side of this story, I’m not excusing the reality that a president in the midst of a reelection campaign is not eager to litigate Libya in the media, which is where Romney started to go but thought better of it. George W. Bush not only lied about Iraq and WMDs, but he lied about torture for years, as well as the warnings leading up to 9/11 when he was running for reelection in 2004, which Republicans still refuse to accept. Karl Rove and the Bush campaign used the election of 2002 to shame Democrats into voting for a war they should not, which included Hillary Rodham Clinton and it cost her the Democratic nomination. Not one person on FNC was interested in Bush-Cheney malfeasance, nor were any of the usual suspects now screaming bloody murder about Obama talking about Bush’s “crimes” and “cover up” on WMDS or torture. These same people went to bat for “Scooter” Libby, who ruined a CIA officer’s career for political gain, something Republicans would have blasted if scuttling Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson’s reputations hadn’t become politically necessary for them.

Whether a Democrat or a Republican is in office, when a foreign policy tragedy occurs around the world, the first casualty is transparency, which goes back decades to Vietnam (and before).

To sidestep a moment regarding transparency, the Obama administration has revealed their drone strategy and “kill list” application will continue, but no one is talking about this (I linked to the story yesterday). Here’s an excerpt, since you won’t see it on FNC and certainly not on MSNBC, the Obama network. From Greg Miller:

Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

The matrix contains the names of terrorism suspects arrayed against an accounting of the resources being marshaled to track them down, including sealed indictments and clandestine operations. U.S. officials said the database is designed to go beyond existing kill lists, mapping plans for the “disposition” of suspects beyond the reach of American drones.

Someone alert Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Right now we know one thing. The consulate in Benghazi didn’t have enough security, which should be investigated and a full accounting made so it never happens again. Budgetary constraints were part of the reason, a supplemental for security purposes obviously needed.

As General Jack Keane said, much to Megyn Kelly’s obvious chagrin, the people on the ground in Benghazi were very capable, and security wasn’t nearly strong enough. But, “refuse to second guess” those people after the attack was his stance on which he was not budging, no matter how Kelly tried.

Hindsight is no way to prosecute the reaction to the Benghazi terrorist attack, especially when the network doing it is trying to leverage the tragedy 10 days away from a presidential election in order to elect their chosen candidate.

Taylor Marsh, a veteran political analyst and former Huffington Post contributor, is the author of The Hillary Effect, available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media blog www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women and power.

  

15 Comments

  1. Hmmm… I like spin. Let’s spin this up some more. An unconfirmed source that was on or near the ground told me that the command to attack the Benghazi consulate came over a cell-phone where on the other end of the line were a snickering John Boenher, Mitch McConnell, and Mitt Romney. We can neither confirm nor deny this rumor, but it’s out there now, so YOU make your own decision!

  2. Heya steadystate. Also listening to Rush, now Hannity, just change your chose pols for the right-wing radio hosts and you’ve just about got it.

    A caller into Rush today basically claimed to be an insider with privileged info, whom Rush handed the show to for minutes to recount information, none of which was confirmed as true.

  3. Man FOX is really not letting go of this one. I still don’t see what the big deal is even if they chose to purposely hide the information for a week. You’d think this was Iran-Contra or something.

  4. Hiding info is one thing, rushing (Carney, Rice) to put out a version of an event when they themselves claim the “fog of war” and pending investigations as a reason NOT to jump to conclusions is stupid, ridiculous, bumbling or hypocritical. If this was an event under Mitt’s administration, I would also label it as malarkey.

  5. Rich Greene – FNC would be doing it anyway, as they clearly have a political motivation.

    That said, you are correct that it deserves time, absolutely.

    I’ve had other comments, etc. from readers & others who also claim the Administration is “lying,” though I’ve not heard a convincing case to prove it is anything other than the fog of logistics & communication, coupled with the politics of tragedy during a presidential election season.

    The information now coming out about details of the attack come in a 20-20 hindsight view, but they sure don’t comfort anyone.

  6. Take a good look at what Fox is doing. They are now divulging information about the CIA annex and how the annex relates to both the consulate location but how the reaction forces responded. These goons love to bleed about leaks when it suits them. Just days ago they screamed leak when sources told journalists that in fact there were no signals of advanced planning. “This was leaked to help obama”.

    But here’s what the GOP and Fox can’t control; the world news machine.
    Fortunately we can all practice OPINT work ourselves in many ways. While we’ll lack certain analysis skills at first, we won’t be so sideswiped when reality hits us.

    I happen to keep track of Libya among other world events on a daily level. It wasn’t surprising to me to see a brigade of locals hit the Benghazi location. it isn’t an embassy, it doesn’t have a huge attache. it is shameful that the GOP demonstrates such ignorance of the region while getting kudos from people who claim to be “strong on defense”

    The other day the put punkface Jason Chaffetz up against Gen. Wes Clark. Jason talked to Gen. Clark like a punk kid. He showed not only no respect, but showed that he doesn’t know the first thing about fighting a war. He’s a prime example of the typical gabber class of idiots coming from that ilk of the country.

    What happened in Benghazi was a reaction to the events in Cairo, you’ll be me steak and ale if you say otherwise because i’ll hold you to the consequences of the bet.

    The locals heard that the embassy walls had been breached in Cairo, that the flag had been torn down and what has been called “jihadist” flags were put up. The locals in Benghazi who regularly participate in local militias took out their anger on the consulate.

    Should the consulate have been protected and on guard? absolutely. Is it valid to ask why not? Absolutely. But to willfully lie about the chain of events, is disgusting to watch. Practice some basic etiology on this one.

    Etiology: Study of causes.
    The right want to always argue that “terrorists” simply plot to destroy. They just wait to destroy you, me, the world, and replace it with a big Califate. Great narrative and not terribly far from some truths.

    But do to this unexamined belief, these same goons cannot deal with the obvious any more. Instead, they, like truthers, invent elaborate schemes and motivations.

    Unfortunately for their view, the rest of us live in the same world and aren’t prone to their illness inherently.

    I have friends in the areas between Morocco and Afghanistan who can, in real time, provide a point of view that isn’t based or even aware of FoxNews. They aren’t concerned with RomneyVObama any more than other world citizens.

    In the case of expats, many who work in field of security have to deal with the consequences of RightWing American Propaganda. When Hannity and crew go off with Pam Geller and run on about anti-muslim feelings the hold, this is kerosene to activists bent on confronting American power in North Africa to Far East.

    Nobody is discussing the impact this film has now and it will happen again. It will happen again and again because nobody dared tell the local bigots, “you’re repugnant”. The government’s 1st Amendment protections are there for a reason. But we have cases that said “fighting words”, “yelling fire” and such are off limits. Libel isn’t legal for a reason.

    While I’m all for a healthy discussion on how to deal with ‘terrorists’, i’m not interested in doing so if it is vacant of the mention of the irritants.

    Last, Hillary Clinton referred to the attack as being done by “heavily armed militants” in the first 10 words of her opening comments on this, Sep 12th.
    On September 12th when Barack Obama commented, he was only commenting on Benghazi, not Cairo, and clearly did not discuss any film in his comments.
    We know he said “act of terror” which gave him a cute moment over Romney, but then the lie became, “he wasn’t specific”. The whole speech was about the attack in Benghazi.

    Clinton did refer to the film and said clearly that it was not a legitimate excuse for any reaction like this. Nothing in her words have been untrue.

    For the liars who want to milk this, you can whirl yourselves up like you did way back before you found a Lewinsky moment to end your gambit, but this does not serve the country well to do it on the grand stage. Doing so over Libya has consequences. Be careful that your stated ambition, “security for our officials overseas” is not undermined by your ambition to lynch a President.

  7. “If the regular media would do it then FOX wouldn’t have to handle it all by themselves.”

    Obviously Fox is your news center of the universe if you think there is a ‘regular news’ and that Fox is going to handle it themselves. I will give Herridge one thing, she is able to give me enough info in her work that I can still find something useful despite the spin. Jennifer isn’t bad at this either, but clearly, because I’m a details guy, I do appreciate the frequency of video coverage.

    However….when they’re running after a made up narrative, that’s not good for anyone. And despite your “President is lying” garbage, you 1.) don’t know it wasn’t an embassy, it was a consulate, 2.) it isn’t a very well guarded consulate in structure, 3.) Even the brits left because the area is insecure, and, 4. ) you have no idea how to read intel, how to process real time threats and are being used as a FoxNews tool. The more you buy into Fox, the more outraged you’ll be, and Bingo. New customer.

    As I said above, steak and ale and you’ve got a bet that I can easily bust the FoxNews lie up. I’ll give you a few hints to warn you ahead of time…but you might not get them. 1st, Grand Mufti of Egypt and his address on Sept 9th.

    And, tell me the different leaders of Ansar al-Sharia, Omar Abdulrahman Brigades, Feb17 Brigade and others. I’m all ears.

    Good luck Rich Green.

  8. MM, pick a story: It was a video and they were SURE so they had Carney and Rice and O on Sept. 25th at U.N. say so. Or it was a terrorist attack (same as attacks of terror) as O implied he said on Sept.12th and jumped up at the 2nd debate. Or it was both and any story will do, and it isn’t important enough for a press conference. Or it is a nothing event that Fox and CNN, have blown out of all proportion and strictly for pro Rep purposes and ratings. And further do you think they will clarify anything before Nov. 6th. Steak and wine to you.

  9. I thought Foxes credibility was shot a long time ago. Only the rabid right wing pays any attention. These people wouldn’t care less what the facts are as long as it can be spun against Obama. Obviously the issue is being manufactured for political purposes. Old Fox didn’t seem to concerned a few years ago when (after cheer leading the 2nd Iraq war) the WMD’s turned out to be a bunch hooey. Now there was case where somebody did deceive the public.

  10. I think when the President is lying (multiple times) about a terrorist attack on our embassies that it deserves at least a week or two of coverage. If the regular media would do it then FOX wouldn’t have to handle it all by themselves.

  11. As regards statements by Panetta – we did have real time information including real-time and continuous coverage from drones. Desperate pleas from Americans on the ground and under attack from overwhelming odds were ignored. There is no excuse for lying about a video which brought calls for censorship from various quarters. There is no excuse for apologizing to a bunch of thugs for our freedom of expression. There is no excuse for the media covering up for Obama.

  12. Considering that right wing Republicans don’t respect diplomacy or the brave foreign service soldiers whose job it is, the irony of their concern over the attack has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with those who sacrificed their lives for their country’s mission.

    Indeed, I’d say they’re using those lost lives in a deeply cynical bit for political points.

    There are two things at work here:

    1. The Obama administration has been (relatively) scandal-free. There are no sexual exploits to be splashed across the news media. There are no administration officials being hauled off in handcuffs. There is no situation that the word “gate” can be applied to. Compared to previous White House residents stretching back 30 years, this guy is squeaky clean.

    2. We’re less than two weeks out from an election that should have been in the bag for the challenger. In addition to being relatively squeaky clean, Obama is one of the weakest incumbent Presidents to come along in at least a generation. Yet for some reason (perhaps related to the fact that Romney is the weakest challenger to come along in a quite awhile), he’s polling neck and neck with his opposition.

    The Benghazi “scandal” exists entirely due to it’s relative proximity to the election, and the fact that the right – and their lackeys at Fox – very badly need an opening to attack Obama.

    The lives of Chris Stevens and the others are being used as fodder by a “news” network dedicated to taking down a President.

    Someone will no doubt be along to whine about how MSNBC, for example, is in the tank for Obama. Well if that’s the case, then that someone will need to explain why Rachel Maddow was the first media person to suggest the incident had the hallmarks of an organized attack by militants, and not just angry protestors.

  13. i think this story deserves considerable air time, but from a news source that wants the truth, not a campaign weapon.
    As for foxnews, all they do is preach to the chior. Let them babble on. Only ditto heads are watching.

  14. It was a video, no it was a terrorist attack, no it was a Fox attack, no it was a campaign attack, no it was a……………..
    Transparency?

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